April vengeance shooting done by man acquitted in 2013 killing, Richland sheriff says

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Richland County Sheriff’s Department charged a man and a teen in retaliatory shootings that left an innocent man dead, according to Sheriff Leon Lott

One of the suspects was acquitted as a teen in a high profile killing of a Columbia baker in 2013.

“It’s just sad,” Lott said. “I don’t know another way to describe this case.”

Richland County Sheriff’s Department charged 26-year-old Troy Stevenson of Columbia with murder, shooting into a house and gun possession during a violent crime, Lott said at a Wednesday news conference at the department’s headquarters.

Stevenson’s lawyer denied the charges.

Dai’Jaun Richardson, 19, of Columbia is charged with shooting into a house, aggravated breach of peace and unlawful gun carrying. A fight and Richardson’s shooting began the string of events that lead to a 62-year-old man being killed, Lott said.

Richardson’s defense attorney is not yet publicly listed.

On April 5, a fight broke out at Stevenson’s home on Lucille Drive, investigators said. Richardson’s girlfriend and other women fought and Richardson jumped in. The fight ended with a person hitting Richardson in the head with a bottle, according to Lott.

Richardson left, got a gun and returned to the Lucille Drive home where he fired “several” rounds into the home, Lott said. No one was injured.

Hours later at about 2:40 a.m. Stevenson, armed with a high-powered handgun equipped with a silencer and an extended magazine with more than 30 rounds, drove by Richardson and his girlfriend’s house on the 200 block of Devoe Drive and fired at least eight rounds into the home, according to investigators. A bullet struck 62-year-old Charlie Jackson, Jr, the girlfriend’s father, as he lay in bed. He died from the bullet later at a hospital. Neither Richardson or his girlfriend were shot.

Deputies arrested Richardson on May 5 and Stevenson on Wednesday. Both were jailed at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. A judge released Richardson without having to pay bond, court records show. Stevenson is still jailed, awaiting a bond hearing.

This is the second time Stevenson has been implicated in a fatal shooting.

In 2013, authorities accused Stevenson of being the look-out and driver for a man and a teenager who killed Kelly Hunnewell, a baker and single mother who was working an early morning shift at a bakery on Beltline Boulevard. Stevenson had been charged with murder, attempted armed robbery, kidnapping and second-degree burglary.

In 2018, a jury acquitted Stevenson of all the charges.

His lawyer, Aimee Zmroczek, said Stevenson “vehemently denies” the current charges.

“He continues to be a target because [Richland County Sheriff’s Department] failed to investigate,” she said. “If they had investigated, they would have found he had an alibi.”

Enraged

Lott was clearly exasperated at Wednesday’s news conference by what he described as zero-conscience shootings by young people.

“We have young people who are not being taught the dangers of guns or taught respect for life,” Lott said.

Lott repeated a phrase he’s said many times over the years. That guns get young people one of two places — in prison or in a cemetery. Communities need to get “enraged” by gun violence, Lott said.

In April and May, at least three teenagers have been shot dead in Columbia or Richland County, including two from a Monday night shooting. Tuesday evening, Columbia Police Department was called in to another fatal shooting. Then on Wednesday, Richland County deputies got called to a fight at Lower Richland High School and after, arrested a 17-year-old with a gun in his bookbag, Lott said. Five Points was the scene of a daytime shooting on May 4.

In the 2000s, Richland County had a rise in gang violence which was quelled by communities’ leadership and the sheriff’s department, Lott recalled. Today, that community leadership isn’t stepping up to help stop gun violence, the sheriff said. He called on communities to own up to gun violence and to help stop it.

“We’ve been beating this drum for five years but our communities have not heard it,” Lott said about communities rising to the challenge of gun violence.

There’s been a lot of communities talking about fixes to gun violence but little action from them, Lott said.

He’s not giving up hope of fixing the violence, Lott said. His deputies and police partners, like Columbia Police Department, are going to continue to arrest people who use guns for violence.

“We’re only part of the solution,” Lott said. “We’re notthe solution.”

In a rare move, Lott called out lawmakers for making unsafe gun laws, referring to a bill allowing people to openly carry guns in public, which awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

“Instead of taking guns off the streets, we’re talking about putting more guns on the streets,” Lott said.

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